IT takes a particular type of forward to stand up to the scrutiny and requirements bestowed upon them by the Rangers fan base.

In my lifetime, the club have had some who have thrived and dominated and some who are better unmentioned. Alfredo Morelos stands apart from almost any other in the 21st century as more merited, and valuable comparisons can only be found against some of Rangers' biggest legends.

One of the central tenets of a "Rangers striker" is a physical profile that allows for use in multiple roles and grander tactical schemes. It's this aspect in which none of the Ibrox club's current options outwith Morelos satisfies.

The Colombian apart, a lack of presence and all-around physical profile is concerning and would become perilous should Morelos move on to pastures new. As many of you will know, I watch and analyse much Turkish football, and the form striker in the Super Lig is Kasmipasa's new arrival Jackson Muleka.

The player faced off against Rangers last season for Standard Liege in the Europa League, who remains his parent club. However, there are some suggestions that in his current loan arrangement, a £2.5m exit fee exists and can be exercised.

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At 22, Muleka has returned to the form shown at Congolese side TP Mazembe that led to him making the move to Belgium as a 20-year-old. Perhaps as fascinating as his career arc up to now is the changes in fortune he has enjoyed since switching Liege for Istanbul. With all this considered, let's look at what has catalysed Muleka's scorching form, ask if it could be replicated at Ibrox, and under what circumstances Rangers should target Muleka this summer.


Muleka, is a young, physically powerful and technically competent forward who can only be described as a complete forward in a Scottish domestic context. There is no string that his bow lacks when it comes to taking on the competition in our league.

When the quality of competition increases though, his touch becomes an evident weakness. His talismanic approach becomes even more frustrating as despite decreased chances, he still often passes up the optimal decision favouring one that advantages him.

His physical profile reads incredibly well. He stands at over six feet, carrying some muscle but not enough to slow him down. He has a robust posterior chain that allows him to take on and beat opponents across the board, even when duelling and tussling the largest of centre-backs.

If we move to his data profile, we can filter his data against both his Belgian and Turkish peers, as he has managed to pick enough minutes in both competitions to allow us to start forming conclusions. Below and to the left, we can see his output at Standard, which is poor for all intents and purposes.

His defensive activity is impressive, but that is about it. In Liege, Muleka profiles as an unthreatening attacking outlet who attempts to offset his poor performance in possession with a workman-like ethic when out of possession. Looking to the right and towards his data profile at Kasimpasa, it is night and day. Little needs to be said as the graphic speaks for itself, but it would be a challenge to find a more unique and consistent data profile from a striker with over 750 minutes this season.

Rangers Review:

Rangers Review:

Kasimpasa’s fortunes have mirrored Muleka’s since he joined, as evidenced by the graphic below. Though their upwards trajectory is far more succinctly linked with the appointment of Sami Ugurlu as Head Coach, they have turned into one of the league’s best sides since the Congolese forward arrived.

Rangers Review:

Comparison of Context: Standard vs Kasimpasa

Confidence is a massive thing in football, even more so for strikers who live by maintaining it and harvesting its effects. Whether a boost in confidence can fully rationalise Muleka's form or not, let's look at the surface-level differences between Muleka's role and surroundings at Kasimpasa and Standard Liege.

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Occam's razor would propose that Muleka is playing better because he is playing for a better side, which is true. Standard Liege have been terrible this season, whilst Kasimpasa has been much the opposite whilst Muleka has been there.

Beyond that, both sides have played Muleka in a pair, though at Kasimpasa he partners the mobile and creative Umut Bozok, currently the league's top scorer. At Standard, he was paired with the less mobile target-man, Klauss, who struggled.

To go into greater detail, at Kasimpasa, he plays as the most advanced forward and is given license to roam right, whilst at Standard, he played behind Klauss but also enjoyed the freedom to roam.

As seen below, there is little difference in their heatmaps, Standard to the left, Kasimpasa to the right.

Rangers Review:

Rangers Review:

Much like his heatmap, his shot maps are reasonably similar, though his Kasimpasa map is adorned with far more goals on the right than the Standard shot map to the left.

Rangers Review:

Rangers Review:

Let's look at what Muleka offers whilst confident and playing for a quality side, something he would be afforded ample opportunity to do at Ibrox.

Hold Up and Movement With the Ball

Muleka is a more rapid but slightly less secure version of Morelos. He possesses the physical tools to both hold-up and beat his man, though he can also turn to his surprisingly effective (not attractive) dribbling style to stand up and beat defenders.

Below we can see two examples of Muleka posting up to receive the ball before quickly turning his defender. He is able to consistently beat his man despite his intentions being known as he is able to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with the defender due to the momentum he has generated and his impressive upper-body strength.

He’s smart and knows when to challenge with force and when to take a more hesitant approach in the attempt to win a foul. We can see two examples below, the first one he goes full throttle given his proximity to goal and space afforded, whilst in the second he settles for winning a free-kick.

Rangers Review:

Rangers Review:

Spreading Play and Creating Chances

Muleka has a surprisingly refined and effective passing range, similar to Morelos himself, but is more effective when facilitating chances close to goal. Since arriving in Turkey, Muleka finds himself in the 90th+ percentile for xA p90, assists p90, deep completions p90, and shot assists p90, all corroborating the idea that he provides ample opportunities to teammates.

We can see an excellent example of this below. Here, we see him drift to the right, which we’ve established as a characteristic of his, before finding a teammate at the penalty spot with a cross.

Rangers Review:

Another example is seen below; however, it is in a more progressive capacity than chance-creating. Muleka has come deep to collect the ball. He receives it and charges upfield, gaining the attention of both proximal defenders, which allows him to slip his teammate in and deep into the corner. The acknowledgement and use of his gravity here are fantastic.

Rangers Review:

The final example is below. Here we see Muleka cut in from the right side, attracting the attention of two defenders, which leaves a teammate open at the edge of the D. He plays the ball in front of his teammate, who picks the ball up and takes a shot at goal.

Rangers Review:

Muleka’s passing range isn’t good enough to merit him playing deeper from the start, but it does allow him to carry a multi-faceted threat close to goal. As mentioned earlier however, he opts to shoot a bit too often.

Finishing and Strikers Instinct

Muleka leverages his skills and physique to score through various mediums, though some are easier on the eye than others. Pace and intelligence are the backbones of many of his goals, as he naturally seems to drift towards goal scoring opportunities.

Below we can see two screenshots from one of his recent goals, coming against reigning champions Besiktas. Here he attacks the centre-backs blindside, and he is given the freedom to do so, as the left-back is forced to deal with two bodies himself.

Rangers Review:

Once he gets there, he receives the ball, takes a single preparatory touch and dispatches the ball into the bottom left corner, despite the best intentions of an on-running Ersin Destanoglu. A nice, cute finish, only made possible by fantastic movement and a great pass.

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A similar marriage of positioning and good delivery is seen below. Here Muleka is found just on the penalty spot, open and ready to head the ball into the bottom corner, which he does.

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Muleka’s movement is effective again, as here he attacks the channel between the two Goztepe centre-backs during a counter-attack.

Rangers Review:

He can split the pair, which gives him the space to get a shot-off, which is likely the wrong decision as he could have continued to progress forward. Again, though, when you’re in form, everything and anything comes off, so he slots it into the bottom right corner.

Rangers Review:

Another example of Muleka being in the right spot at the right time is seen below. Interestingly, this is almost a carbon copy of the cross he supplied to a teammate in the same game highlighted earlier. Here he slows down to match the winger's run before accelerating to create space to shoot. He is found and slots it calmly in the bottom corner.

Rangers Review:

The final distinct example is seen below and is very much in the ilk of a brutish Morelos goal. Here he picks the ball up on the right of the D, before shrugging off a defender, moving towards the goal, and slamming the ball into the back of the net with a cross-body shot. The placement isn't A1 but the power leaves the keeper with a little-to-no chance.

Rangers Review:

There is little difference between the chances Muleka is getting at Kasimpasa and Standard. At Kasimpasa, he is shooting in better locations, evidenced by the 35% increase of his xG pShot. However, it's undoubtedly a confidence thing.

Fit and Feasibility

A lot is contingent on that buy clause in the loan agreement. If it does exist and Kasimpasa can buy Muleka for £2.5m, then it wouldn't be unlikely that they could look to flip him quickly for 50-100% profit (£3.75m-5m).

There is a conversation to be had for that price, even more so should Morelos leave, as the Muleka we are watching in Turkey, and to a lesser extent Muleka from the 20/21 season, could be a high upside replacement, albeit at a high risk.

Kasimpasa or Standard would likely price Rangers out regarding signing him as a rotation option, as it's difficult to rationalise spending what would probably be around £5m on someone who will always be behind Morelos in the pecking order.

In both universes, one in which Morelos extends, and one in which he leaves, Muleka is the right profile to target, though there may be better deals out there. However, any Muleka deal firmly has the potential to be a good one.